Where To Get It: Steam
I am always appreciative, when it comes to arcade puzzlers, or any sort of puzzler with a grid system, of epilepsy accessibility options. They don’t always work, but them just being there gives me a chance to review them (It’s in advanced options, fellow epileptics.) And so it is with Crossniq+ , a game about, as the title somewhat implies, making crosses in a grid. And, while it has a somewhat slow start… Hot-damn, is it enjoyable.
Okay, so, let’s get into the basics. You shift rows and columns, making crosses to a time limit, using your choice of mouse, keyboard, or gamepad (I found mouse the easiest, but each have their merits.) And, at first, it seems pretty simple. Shift them rows, right? But then the bonus/hindrance blocks start appearing. Fit a star into the cross, and you get more points (you also get more points the quicker you are about it.
But lock icons also start appearing, which prevent you from sliding blocks from one side to the other (two lock blocks near the edges is a very “Deal with it.” situation. And then… The cross blocks. You can move blocks from outside the cross box’s cross into it, but you cannot affect the row and column of the cross-block itself. This most definitely is a block you have to work around. You can get rid of any special block by making a cross’ row or column next to one, but that works for bonus blocks too, so… Be careful!
And, in both endless mode and time attack, you don’t have the luxury of letting it pass, because the more you score, the tighter those times get (and the more score you get for carrying on making those crosses!) It starts nice and slow, easing you into mechanics, and while each block is a surprise the first time, you quickly get a handle on their behaviour, making for a very reasonable difficulty curve.
Aesthetically, it aims for a late 90s console puzzle game feel, and it achieves that feel. Friendly, rounded icons, clear delineation of elements, photographic backgrounds, and music that, put together, distinctly put me in mind of some Dreamcast and PS2 games of the genre. So, suffice to say, I love that they achieved that goal, it’s an aesthetic I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing more of.
Three modes exist in the game (Time attack, Endless, and Local Versus), plus a reasonable tutorial, and a customisation shop for the (local) multiplayer mode, so, overall, yes, it’s a tightly designed puzzle with some simple elements that make for some nice, frenetic strategy. Also, a chillout room, with things you’ve unlocked that are just… Calm, and a cast of well designed, interesting characters. So, obviously… A recommendation from me!
The Mad Welshman never owned a Dreamcast. So, obviously, he wants Chu Chu Rocket on PC. The Devil Dice games too, while folks are at it.